Here, I'll start:
2. It's July. Do you have anything special planned? We are off to a barbeque at a friend's house today. There will be small children for Melissa to potentially bite if she perceives they're taking something that belongs to her (and everything that exists in the world belongs to her if it makes its way into her hand).
I don't know if there will be fireworks. But I do know somebody's roasting a pig. I don't know if they're roasting a whole pig, or half a pig, or 1/3 of a pig. But I do know there will be a pig. In a big, pig barbeque pit. Roasting. I bet PETA's going to be SO frowny about this.
Later this month, my side of the family: husband, daughter, brother, sister-in-law, niece, nephew, my mom, my stepfather, me--that side of my WHOLE family will be taking a road trip to the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.
We're staying in a place that looks like it hasn't been updated since the mid-80's. There is little to do in the Pcoconos besides shoot deer (apologies again, PETA) and July isn't even close to deer season. It takes 14 hours by car to reach this land; we'll be traveling for 14 hours by car with a 20 month old who likes to RUN, mama! RUN! not sit still for extended periods. We haven't even loaded the mini-van yet and my mother is already complaining about how much extra stuff we're bringing and there's no room for it in her mini-van.
Why are we subjecting ourselves to this torture? So our small children can meet Pop Pop, their dying great-grandfather (please don't say anything crazy, Pop Pop) (Pop Pop has been a really grumpy old man for the last decade and a half, and now on top of dying--and being grumpy about it--he's got dementia).
What can I say? You make the sacrifices now so when your children are older, you have a groundwork of handy guilt trips.
3. Who is your big celebrity crush? Who's NOT my big celebrity crush? I'm pretty sure my husband is supposed to give me a pass if Gerard Butler wants to take me to Fiji. Clive Owen would be okay, too, if his spouse is agreeable like mine is. And Javier Bardem, if Penelope Cruz won't beat me up.
4. Tell us about a local restaurant you are sure we'd love. I think you should visit Sun in my Belly. It's like eating on your grandpappy's porch in Appalachia, except you're in downtown Atlanta. And everyone has most of their teeth. And they play jazz music; not a banjo in sight. And the food can be slightly pricey if you don't watch it. And I don't think you would find your Appalachian memaw cookin' up stuff like Challah French Toast Stuffed with Honeyed Ricotta and served with Brown Sugar Glazed Berries + Maple Syrup or Rose Pistolla: Hot Pressed Ham Sandwich with Pepper Jack + Chipolte Mayo + Roasted Red Peppers + Dijon served on Brioche.
They will, however, serve y'all up water in mason jars. Just lak at dem dare Crayckur Burrel.
5. Tell us about the shyest person that you deal with regularly. That would be myself. And Miss Melissa, who I'm convinced is not actually shy, just messing with new people she meets by immediately covering her eyes with both her hands so we all just think she's shy. How do I know she's doing this just to mess with us? Because when she uncovers her eyes, she lifts her shirt up over her head and flashes the whole world. And shy people don't do that. We stay totally covered up.
6. What is your vision of heaven and hell? Heaven: the moment right after Melissa falls asleep on me and right before she starts to get sweaty and I feel like I'm lugging a large sack of potatoes around. Sunny days. Long vacations. Road trips with good friends. Summer nights when those bugs outside my window are croaking or whatever that sound they're making is. Not having to think about other people's problems and issues, just focusing on re-organizing my pantry.
Hell: being locked in a room any of these people: Rush Limbaugh; that crazy preacher from the Westboro Baptist Church; a really arrogant knowitall; a white supremacist; someone who sounds like Rush Limbaugh and talks like the WBC preacher in a really arrogant knowitall way about the superiority of one kind of people over another and you have a hard time focusing on what they're saying because they have such bad body odor....or anyone who thinks any of the aforementioned are cool people to look up to.
I'm sure all of these types of people have lessons the Universe would like us all to learn. I think that lesson is: use your brain, and take a shower.
But I could be wrong.
7. What is your neighborhood like? It's very small, we only have about 50 homes. You can't get lost; the whole thing is one big circle. It's 5 years old. We have an empty lot nobody's doing anything with, so once a year the Home Owners Association throws up some portable picnic tables and has Italian catered in; somebody usually brings a battery-operated CD player with a lot of big band CDs loaded into it.
We're billed as "a village," which means the builder hoodwinked the people in the much older, more established neighborhood behind ours into letting us attach their neighborhood's name at the end of our "village." The older, more established neighborhood behind us agreed to let the builder do that because they thought the builder was going to tell all of us to join their HOA on top of the one we already had. So they're pretty peeved with us, because it turned out nobody in our very small village really wanted anything to do with them.
Here's the moral of the story about builders the neighborhood behind us learned the hard way: they build. And then they leave. And the people who buy the builder's houses may have their own ideas about what's cool. And maybe they think your older, established neighborhood pool is incredibly overpriced to join, because we can get a membership at the gym down the street for about $5000 less each year and go swim there. And stop paying cops to hide behind the bush near that one stop sign that's in that really ridiculous location just so he can write tickets for people going to and from work. That's really a poopy thing to do to your neighbors. Also, one of your houses looks like a haunted bordello. Who wants to pay $5000 a year to be a part of that?
We're one of the youngest families in our village/neighborhood. Because the builder marketed it toward active adults, which means people who are retired or almost retired but they're still able bodied and fully cognizant enough to pay their bills on time. Most of our neighbors are over 65 but not old codgers. They're highly friendly, and they all seem to have poodles for pets, and they walk these poodles in a big group around 5 o' clock every evening when it's warm. Maybe they have a poodle walking association they're not telling anyone about. I like the one lady who looks like Nancy Reagan: she always waves when I drive by her and her little brown poodle.
I'd finish this overly long response by saying my retired neighbors over 70 spend a lot of time taking notes about who's following the Home Owner's Association rules properly and who's not, but I live with the Co-president of the HOA board. And he practically drives around the village every afternoon checking for offenders, grumbling about people who've left their trash cans out too long. And he's not even close to 70.
8. What's your favorite cook-out food? If it's been cooked on a grill? I'm rarely picky.